Browser Daily Newsletter 1253


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

One More Time: Repetition In Music

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis | Aeon | 7th March 2014

Repetition is the essence of music. Repetition is "so powerfully linked with musicality that its application can dramatically transform apparently non-musical materials into song". Repetition "makes a sequence of sounds seem less like an objective presentation of content and more like a kind of tug that’s pulling you along". Repetition "actually gives rise to the kind of listening that we think of as musical" (2,700 words)

How To Save America

Simon Kuper | FT Magazine | 7th March 2014

Brilliant. To save itself, America should take the US Army as its model. The army is a "socialist paradise" with life-long learning, socialised healthcare, subsidised childcare, early pensions. Army culture is pro-science and anti-racist. Soldiers understand "the horrors and limits of war", and so are typically less belligerent than civilians. And hardly anyone is allowed to carry a gun on a military base (870 words)

Helen Suzman Deserves Her Tribute

Simon Jenkins | The Guardian | 6th March 2014

She was the third prime mover in the ending of South African apartheid, with Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk. For 36 years as an opposition MP she was "a flickering flame of white conscience". Her "one-woman party in a sanctum of hostile men" was one of "the most courageous parliamentary careers ever". Yet she died in 2009 with "no Nobel prize, no memorial"; she deserves at least the memorial (955 words)

How Silence Became A Luxury Product

Chloe Schama | New Republic | 4th March 2014

Technology has "increased our perceived need for silence and created (or at least improved) the means of attaining it". From quiet cars on trains, to noise-cancelling headphones, to super-quiet Lexus cars, "there has never been quite so great a premium placed on silence". We crave quiet as a way "to push back against the gnat-like ticking of technology". Silence, especially in cities, has become "the ultimate luxury" (1,800 words)

The Fate Of Denmark’s Jews

Bo Lidegaard & Jonathan Derbyshire | Prospect | 7th March 2014

Gripping short interview on the political and moral choices of Denmark during WW2. The Danish government "co-operated" with the Nazis, but did not "collaborate"; the relationship was strictly pragmatic. Pre-war laws against immigration had prevented German Jewish refugees from entering the country; this made it easier for Denmark to protect Danish Jews, and help them escape, once Denmark was occupied (1,160 words)

Obituary: Mike Parker

Anonymous | Economist | 6th March 2014

As of director of type development at the Linotype typesetting company from 1959 to 1981, Parker turned Helvetica into "the public typeface of the modern world", the font of choice for McDonald’s, Microsoft, Apple, Lufthansa, the IRS and the New York subway. "Type gave flavour to words: and this was a typeface that gave people confidence to navigate through swiftly changing times" (Metered paywall) (900 words)

Video of the day:  The Shipping Yard

Thought for the day:

"Smell is the permanent address of memory" — Andre Anciman

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